Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug-related injury to the gastrointestinal tract: clinical picture, pathogenesis, and prevention

Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2010 Sep;39(3):433-64. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2010.08.010.


Increasing life expectancy in developed countries has led to a growing prevalence of arthritic disorders, which has been accompanied by increasing prescriptions for nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These are the most widely used agents for musculoskeletal and arthritic conditions. Although NSAIDs are effective, their use is associated with a broad spectrum of adverse reactions in the liver, kidney, cardiovascular system, skin, and gut. Gastrointestinal (GI) side effects are the most common. The dilemma for the physician prescribing NSAIDs is, therefore, to maintain the antiinflammatory and analgesic benefits, while reducing or preventing GI side effects. The challenge is to develop safer NSAIDs by shifting from a focus on GI toxicity to the increasingly more appreciated cardiovascular toxicity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / chemically induced
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / pathology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / drug effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / pathology
  • Humans
  • Mucous Membrane / drug effects
  • Mucous Membrane / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors